Today, Tuesday October 29th at 09:00 the Mini Transat 2013 has started at last.

With this link you can follow the race on the internet


from dock to start

More photo's and films on Facebook and Twitter 






_v0f2237 (2)An article about the only Dutch and oldest participant in the Transat 2013 France-Lanzarote-Guadeloupe (8000 km) was publiced today in "De Telegraaf" vaarkrant. Click here: De telegraaf



_v0f2242 (2)The plan of yesterday briefing to start tomorrow to Gijon for a third leg, has been abandonned due to very strong winds coming over the tale of the fleet Sunday coming. The models show however a favourable window Monday evening or Tuesday. The Acores High is than in place again (centre over the Acores) and pushing the depressions more North and blocking new depressions. Though we know all that we will have to be very carefully with the predictions as we learned from the past 2 weeks, everybody is very happy and the pontoons are again getting crowded with skippers.


We have received instructions how to leave Port Rhu in the 2 hours of high water on Mondaymorning 1000 hrs or Tuesday 1100 hrs, when the lock of the port is open. Boats will be towed straight to sea. Startline and -boats will be made ready. Possibly there will be only a windward mark and then………gone……! Quite emotional so to say. Also the passage of Raz du Seine seems acceptable due to a low coefficient of the current at this moment.


The organisation will change rules: less time for a repair stop in a port (max 48 hrs in stead of 72 hrs) on the way to Lanzarote and less time for an open finishline (4 days in stead of 6). This has to do with the stayover in Porto Calero, where we will have to leave before November 11 due to a worlchamionship of class44 there (plan to start to Guadeloupe was November 9). 


Earliest possible briefiing Sunday afternoon.


After the briefing the Italiens give a (mode) show and theather show (until deep in the night?). All pretty funny. Pictures from the "start": Douarnenez-20131024-00426 Douarnenez-20131024-00429Douarnenez-20131024-00435


Double happy Robert (Birthday+Start and weather window)




While there was a little hope this morning to have a start this Friday, the afternoon models are closing this little hope window. Unfortunate the forecasts for next week untill Friday November 1st are not good. As we are waiting three weeks for a start as of end of next week, I asked how long the organisation can continue (finance-, organisationwise etc). They have talked about this but Denis Hugues did not want or could not give an answer to that question. An option to go to La Corune is still being studied. I asked if an option is to go from La Corune straight to Guadeloupe. The answer is no. For all involved ports, for the organisation and for the skippers/coureurs, not an easy situation. Despite the weatheroutlook and the thunderstorms and heavy wind and rain in and around Douarnenez, the ambiance within the group of coureurs and within the organisation is very good.





22 oktober 2013

prologue2013_2NED 602 in straight line to the windward mark.

It seems that the weatherwindow we saw yesterday for a possible start Wednesday is closing again and leaving only smaller chances for a start second half of this weekup to the weekend. Fortunate the USA and European models do not match today, leaving a possible positive change open for tomorrow.


The main influence on the meteorologic situation on the North Atlantic is the ridge in the West, which should block depressions moving in the direction of Biscay and giving room to the Acores High to move more North (pushing the depressions also North), creating a situating of less wind which comes from Western and NorthWestern directions. 


The alternative to start a third leg towards Gijon is still a possibility. Advantage is to be closer to Cabo Finisterre. In this scenario it is thought that a window to pass Finisterre towards Lanzarote might be faster and safer.


It should be added that the "Direction Course" is extremely careful and precise in their decisionmaking and will not take any risk.


Douarnenez, 21-10-2013


Herunder I will give a short expose of the actual weather and systems situation on the North Atlantic Ocean and the projections for the next 10 days on sea level as well as on the 500 HPA level, which is at 1500 meters altitude.


The different weather predictionmodels (USA-European) forecast for next week again deep depressions battering Portugal and Gulf of Biscay one after the other. The Anticyclone Acores Pressure system is being pushed south by the on-going natural forces of the lows passing fast from west to (south) east over the Atlantic Ocean squeezed in between this "Acores High", South and a remarkable high pressure system above Greenland up to Norway in the North. Consequently, there are high waves of average 5 meter at Cabo Finisterre, Spain and elsewhere near the coast of Portugal and windspeeds of 30-40 knots from direction South to Southwest. The fleet of about 90 boats is for the time being therefore kept safe in the shelters of Port Rhu in Douarnenez.


Looking to the 500 HPA pressure charts (1500 mtr altitude) there is a possible window visible second half next week. Relative cold air on these altitudes is pushed towards Biscay and Northern Europe. As of this moment these different models seem to get consistent. The High pressure above Greenland is showing weeknesses as of monday next week. It is clear that the situation is blocked mainly because of this very strong high pressure system above Greenland up to Norway, preventing the low systems to move more North, giving room to the Atlantic High and more Northerly winds for us. 


For the next 5 days there is no weather window foreseen at the moment on basis of which a start of Transat 2013 should be sound.


As of Wednesday warmer weather is pushing North to Canada on the other side of the ocean. This is also the situation on Thursday. The Thalweg (lowest pressure line south of the Low) is getting smaller (squeezed) as a result of the High pressure and warm air pushing North on the other side of the ocean. But still 40 knots of wind at Finisterre.


Situation Friday next is projecting strong SW wind in Biscay, but we will get flow from the North West because of this Anticyclone pushing further North and blocking depressions coming in our direction.


Saturday next week warm air is coming to the coast of Portugal from the pushing North Anticyclone on the other side of the Atlantic and the depressions are blocked now to come around the 50th latitude into our direction.


Sunday next week the warmer air wins further field and cold air is pushed further North. The Acores High gains strength into our area.


Monday 28th Octobre. Around the 50th longitude the High pressure is gaining further position with a cold and active Low system around Maroc. But still a lot of wind in Biscay as a result of the Depression systems passing now further North. The influence of the developping Maroc Low is not clear so far.


This Maroc system might influence our strategies when we have started and as we are getting closer to the Canaries end of the month, early November.


A possible window opening as of Friday next week….! Maybe!


In the end we will race again under spinnaker, that's for sure…..!

_v0f2237 (2)

Just a few hours after the start in Port Bourgenay, Vendee, France, I fell on the edge of the cockpit and injured my ribs. After some time I could move no more and long shouts of pain sounded over the water. I did not think about having a choice of abandoning the race and taking the boat back to Lorient. I didn't think of  painkillers either until the doctor on the radio that evening asked me what kind of painkillers I had in my "pharmacy". Very strange. Instead I continued racing on in a  very slow, old man way, moving over and in the boat very very slowly with a lot of pain. Sleeping was hardly possible. Wednesday I was unable to hoist a spinnaker for a large part of the day. Thought being the last boat of the fleet. Thursday I finished in the early afternoon as 23rd of 36 in the serie-solo class. Unbelievable! Shouting once of pain I entered the port. People around laughing at me as they did not know what exactly was happening on board. I didn't start the second leg, being unable to move, the doctor thought that I had bruised several ribs.

Yesterday evening I was X-ray'd in Hospital, since then I know I have two severely broken ribs threatening my lungs. I will be repatriated tomorrow, Monday, to Holland. The boat is on its way to Lorient since Sunday, sailed by a friend of mine who came over from France.


click on these clips:

strange stadium

774 leaving harbour

start of the 2nd leg



have a look at skippers participating this years Transat:


Funny! Specifically the last part of the video!



De start van de double-handed Mini-Fastnet is uitgesteld van zondagmiddag 23 juni 16:00 tot maandagochtend 24 juni 08:00 uur.

Hoewel mijn co-schipper Luke Berry verlekkerd naar buiten kijkt om misschien toch te gaan surfen nu de start een dag is uitgesteld en de prologue geannuleerd is, ben ik blij dat ie hier gebleven is (minder risico). We bereiden de navigatie secuur voor en spenderen vandaag en morgen aan nieuwe weersinformatie, stroming en koersen (klik hier voor routekaart). Tevens documenten voorbereiden, onderlinge afspraken maken, bepalen wat we meenemen aan eten, drinken en kleding (gewicht!). Verder doorgaan met prepareren van NED 602 en spullen organiseren voor een eventueel snelle aftocht naar Nederland na de finish (rond zaterdag 29 juni).

De sfeer onder de “coureurs”  is uitermate goed, niet in de laatste plaats als gevolg van de grote hoeveelheid zorgzame en vriendelijke Bretonse vrijwilligers. De MINI FASTNET 2013 (650 mijl) kan als generale repetitie gezien worden voor de organisatie van de TRANSAT 2013 die de WINCHES CLUB dit jaar en volgend jaar ook organiseert.

Briefing zaterdagochtend in de WINCHES CLUB

Foto 1: briefing zaterdagochtend in de WINCHES CLUB
Briefing inzake veiligheid, meteo en planning. We kregen een uitgebreid weerpraatje adhv. weerkaarten. Daarna werd de Course directeur, erg streng. Het afgelopen jaar zijn er enkele mini’s op kusten terecht gekomen (schippers ongedeerd), na 10 jaar van geen problemen. Het gevolg is dat de veiligheids eisen verder zijn aangescherpt, mede agv. reprimandes van CROSS (Franse Coast Guard). Ik ben helaas de enige Nederlandse deelnemer, nu Sander Vogelanzang Douarnenez niet heeft kunnen halen.

Foto 2: prepareren, een continue “mini” proces te zien op en rond de steigers.
Paul Maret installeert de nieuwste vinding: in plaats van een stopper, wordt een buitenmantel van een lijn geïnstalleerd met een dun trip lijntje (minimaliseren van gewicht/maximeren van functionaliteit). Als er spanning op de dyneema kern, die door de buitenmantel loopt staat, klemt de buitenmantel de kern vast. Losmaken geschiedt door aan het triplijntje te trekken, waardoor de spanning van de buitenmantel afgaat en de kern vrij kan lopen.



A Pogo2 transat 650 racer was grounded at Bovisand today. The unfortunate French skipper was just a mile short of a second place in the UK Fastnet race which was to finish at Plymouth. Later the same day, the skipper of FRA 692 was part of a 4 man crew on a rib which tried to salvage the yacht. The rib was overwhelmed by breakers when it appeared to lose power or steerage.Thankfully all crewmembers are safe.


See video's:

FRA 692 unfortunate beaching

Rib wrecked in effort to get FRA 692 to deep water